News / Africa

Swaziland King Open to Dialogue with Opposition, Says Adviser

King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
Peter Clottey
An adviser to Swaziland’s King Mswati III has denied accusations the country’s leader has refused to meet with opposition groups demanding democratic forms.

Obed Dlamini, who is also a former prime minister, said he has been in meetings where the king has called on his government to hold talks with the opposition about possible political changes in the country.

“I have heard him talk in my presence in addressing meetings that the government must give an ear, even to opponents of the system, so that we hear the discerning view. This is what I have heard him say. I have never heard him say the contrary,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini said he knows nothing about opposition claims that the government has refused several requests for talks about democratic reforms. 

“I’m not so sure whether they have been denied such audience or not. If they have been, I think it must have been a mistake, unless they were forcing issues. But, if they wanted peaceful negotiations [on] the future of the country, this is what we all crave for,” said Dlamini. "The time has come for Swaziland to discuss the future of its people or allow the people to discuss the future fervently and honestly."

At a recent meeting with advisers, the king was quoted by Reuters as saying “some from the Western world have been waiting patiently and nursing hopes that the people of Swaziland will revolt and bring about regime change… Swazis are known the world over for being peace-loving and I would like to urge you to remain like that.”

Dlamini said he is aware that some foreign countries wish Swaziland was not a monarchy.

“I have been in meetings where ambassadors of Europe, in particular, have stated clearly about that,” he said.

But, Mario Masuku, leader of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a banned opposition group, says the king’s recent pronouncement is an indication of his unwillingness to implement any democratic reforms.

“I believe that the king’s response was misplaced [and] it was unfortunate. It is only the people of Swaziland that have been calling for reform towards a democratic peaceful and prosperous Swaziland. But from his speech, [he] scorned at people from outside, who are influencing the people of Swaziland to seek for democratic changes, which I believe is wrong,” said Masuku.

He said the Swazi administration has stifled the political opposition by pressuring human rights organizations, trade unions, and civil society groups and banning all political parties.

Some analysts say King Mswati III’s concentration of power is so great - despite the 2006 reintroduction of a constitution - that the country can be considered an absolute monarchy.

Masuku said the government has often used state security agencies to crush peaceful protests calling for democratic reforms.

“We have been calling for a constructive dialogue… it is our fundamental human right to express ourselves to associate. But, they respond by unleashing the security forces against the people,” he said.

Masuku said opposition groups will continue to put pressure on the administration for democratic change.

Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO's leader
Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO's leaderi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Clottey interview with Obed Dlamini, King Mswati III's adviser
Clottey interview with Obed Dlamini, King Mswati III's adviser i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid